HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Congress and the Dangers of Lead Exposure

Yet again, the U.S. Congress exhibits cognitive dissonance on toxic chemical exposure. Last week, witnesses at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing entitledthe Latest Science on Lead’s Impacts on Children’s Development and Public Health” established that children’s health can be affected by lower exposures to indoor lead than previously known. In an opening statement, Senate majority leader Barbara Boxer pointed out that while the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is responding to these new scientific findings by lowering the levels of indoor lead that require action, the FY 2013 budget proposal cuts CDC programs that address this exposure (the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program). See also the CDC testimony attesting to the improved studies.

The EPA also protects against lead exposure and is now undergoing an Integrated Science Assessment that synthesizes and evaluates science that forms the foundation for the Clean Air Act ambient air standards for lead. See the EPA’s testimony.  No doubt any tightening of standards will meet strong opposition in the House, which correlates weaker environmental health protections with strengthening the economy.

[MM]

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